SPRING MILLS — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey spent Monday morning sharing words of wisdom with advanced government students at Spring Mills High School.
According to homeroom teacher Corey Mease, prior to Morrisey’s arrival, the students participated in an activity to develop questions about the Attorney General’s role. Before answering the students’ questions, Morrisey gave a brief overview of his work as chief legal counsel for the state of West Virginia.
“As the title suggests, Attorney General, I’m basically the attorney general of the state,” Morrisey said, adding that he works to enforce the statutes, the West Virginia Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.
Explaining why he decided to run for attorney general, Morrisey explained that he has a list of “Ps for success” that he follows when running for public service. He encouraged students to follow the list as they prepare to plan their own futures.
First on that list, he said, is to be positive and to acknowledge that people, especially in this country, have much to be thankful for. Second, Morrisey said that having a purpose is crucial. His own purpose, he shared, is to help as many people as possible and ensure laws are obeyed. Principles came next on his list, adding that having principles to live by helps keep you focused. This could include how you treat others and their world.
“Exercise, especially perfect exercise to get the best out of yourself, is very important,” Morrisey said.
Also on the list of achievements was a passionate pursuit of what one’s purpose is and a persistence in achieving goals and fulfilling one’s chosen purpose. According to Morrisey, setting priorities is just as important as being patient, because often you don’t achieve a goal the first time.
Morrisey encouraged students to remember to play, enjoy their hobbies, and enjoy the great outdoors, especially the beautiful state they live in. He also emphasized the importance of partners in achieving goals and finally prayer in seeking some kind of spiritual guidance.
The students then had an opportunity to ask Morrisey specific questions. The first student began with a question about how Morrisey combats political motives versus actual violations of lawsuits.
“There must be a violation of the law. You have to be sensitive when filing lawsuits and make sure they are based on the law,” he said, adding that other branches of government are more focused on political motivations.
A follow-up question that focuses on how supporting a lawsuit to overturn election results helps keep politics out of the law. Morrisey explained that West Virginia’s joining of other states questioning the past election is a call for investigation into something that seems questionable.
“We have to be able to trust that all the rules will be followed and not changed mid-game,” Morrisey said.
Other questions from the students included gun control laws, possible legalization of marijuana and abortion, and mask requirements. When asked what limitations should be placed on the Second Amendment, Morrisey commented, saying that gun ownership is a cherished right that has existed for many years. He added that responsibility and education about the use of guns are also essential.
When asked about the legalization of marijuana, Morrisey said he was an advocate of medical marijuana but did not currently support recreational use. Morrisey said he is fighting a tough battle against West Virginia’s opioid epidemic and cannot support the legalization of a substance that could potentially cause further addiction.
The concept of “my body, my choice” was at the heart of several issues centered around abortion rights versus vaccination regulations. Morrisey maintained his firm stance on the right to life, explaining to the students that if an abortion occurs, the unborn child has no one to protect it. The baby is given no choice.
“I am for life. I have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in our society,” Morrisey said.
In the case of vaccinations, Morrisey said while he supports vaccines against COVID-19, he does not endorse a current mandate for the vaccines. Instead of a mandate, Morrisey promoted a “persuasion” focus to encourage individuals to get the vaccine.
“This encouragement is based on data and science,” Morrisey said, adding that in each case, the person receiving the vaccine is the one making the decision to have it.
Responding to a question asking what his top priorities as Attorney General were, Morrisey said that fighting the opioid crisis was at the top. In doing so, he added as another priority tackling Biden administration issues that could harm West Virginia, particularly the state workforce, and ensured that all of West Virginia fulfills its potential by providing access to companies that create jobs in the bring state.
Morrisey shared that he was very impressed with the students’ questions and even more so with the respectful manner in which the questions were asked.
“The ability to speak across the board, even with those who hold opposing views, is very important,” Morrisey told the students.